I was reading your article in Firehouse (December 1998). I was wondering
if you could explain what you mean by "With a 26- to 32-inch power
spreader, rescuers could also choose to use the vertical crush
We recently purchased our first set of hydraulic tools. We bought the
Holmatro brand and they gave us an 8 hour class that showed attacking
the hinge side. We train this way on most cars.
If possible, could you send me a copy of the <a href="/magazine/extrication/october98.html">Airbag ID parts 1 & 2</a>. I
misplaced those mags. before photo copying.
We are also members of FETN and I enjoy your vehicle extrication
Firefighter II/EMT II
City of Dinuba Fire
REPLY from Ron Moore:
In an effort to avoid working on or near side impact crash sensors,
rescuers can consider attacking a jammed door (with loaded SIPS bags)
from the hinge side. Depending upon the dynamics of the crash, there
are several evolutions that can get the door open. Cutting hinges,
unbolting hinges and spreading hinges till failure are the major
In the December University of Extrication article I mentioned one hinge
attack technique referred to as the 'vertical crush'. This attack
technique works best with a spreader having an opening of 26 to 32
The door must be sized up to determine if it is in fact jammed. All
glass should be removed and the medic and patient protected.
The spreader is then positioned at a 90 degree angle to the side of the
vehicle. The unit should be closer to the hinge end of the door than
the door handle side.
The arms of the tool are placed vertically inside the window opening.
The bottom tip sits on the inside edge at the top of the door panel.
The top tip is positioned inside the top edge of the window opening,
possibly on the metal window frame as well, at the roof rail.
The goal is to brace this tip on the edge of the roof rail. If you move
closer to the front of the door, the top tip actually can push off the
A-pillar. In this situation, keep the arms at a 90 degree abgle to the
A-pillar. the bottom arm will meet the door edge at a slight angle but
this is acceptable.
The butt of the tool should be at shoulder height or at least slightly
higher than horizontal to allow the door to bend down and out in the
With the spreader positioned as if it were going to jack or lift an
object, the arms are opened. The top tip secures itself against the
window frame, roof rai or possibly the A-pillar depending upon where you
decided to place the tool.
Now, as the tool opens, the bottom tip begins crushing the door down and
out, away from the patient. This moves the door, armrest and inside
trim, and the loaded side impact airbag away from the patient and medic
The evolution is complete when either the top hinge breaks or there is
sufficient clearance around the hinges. Once the hinges are exposed, a
horizontal attack with the spreader or a cutting or unbolting effort at
the hinge can be initiated.
Additional details and photos of this evolutions are included in the
text "Vehicle Rescue & Extrication" published by Mosby, Inc, St. Louis
If you'd like more details on this particular technique, please contact
us online and request that a future article of University of Extrication
explain all the options of this extremely valuable door opening
<a href="/magazine/extrication/october98.html">Airbag Series, October-December 1998</a> in our online archives and University of Extrication Online.
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Thread: Using a vertical crush technique
12-21-1998, 12:20 AM #1rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Using a vertical crush technique
12-25-1998, 04:59 AM #2jimFirehouse.com Guest
I was wondering do you find it best to cut the top of the window frame away so you are not pushing against it's self? We have tryed both ways and is seems you can push the door farther down and away from your patient if you cut the top window frame out and push off the top of the roof and the door at the bottom of the window. We have had great success with this takeing a Nadar Bolt. Would the same success happen going for the hinges? Thanks Ron.
01-01-1999, 08:48 PM #3rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Reply posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org> regarding vertical crush technique.
When working to force a door by the 'vertical crush' technique, a crew may decide to cut the door window frame away to eliminate resistance caused by pushing against itself.
The only concern this presents is to make sure the rescuer cutting away the door window frame does not cut into the roofline and weaken it. You want the roofline and pillars to remain strong. The door must be the weak link so it moves downward when crushed by the spreader.
I personally do not remove the window frame initially. I allow it to be pulled up and out of its mounting above the door handle area, then I generally bend it out of the way.
Either way works, just be careful when you cut as you set up this job. You don't want to weaken the integrity of the roofline or roof pillars at this stage of the operation.
01-06-1999, 04:33 PM #4Marv WaltonFirehouse.com Guest
In your explanation of the vertical crush (we call it vertical displacement) you explained to go at the hinge side. We have used the vertical displacement technique several times successfully going nader bolt side. Can you reasonably avoid the side air bag using a vertical crush on the nader side or is the hinge side preferred whether you are using a conventional or vertical displacement? Terrific site! Will visit it often.
01-06-1999, 11:52 PM #5rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Reply posting from Ron Moore, Moderator
Your department has sucessfully used the Vertical Crush at the Nader side of the door and have had good results. This is where the door generally is weak and most who used this technique like the Nader-side attack.
Yes, you can avoid the side air bag module and the SIPS bags crash sensors using a vertical crush on the Nader side because your crushing action comes down onto the top of the door and moves it out and away from the patient. Sensors and the airbag modules are inside the door and inside the B-pillar or C-pillar. Sensors for side airbagsinside pillars are found at seat cushion level most commonly.
Watch the lower arm of your spreader. Don't allow it to slip down inside the door. Stop if it drops too low on the door or cuts into the door itself. If the arm goes below the door's collision beam, I'd stop the job. You are now too near a SIPS bag itself. Remember they sit above the armrest level on the door.
Crush enough to see daylight at either the hinges or the latch and then switch to a standard horizontal attack.
I do recommend however that horizontal spreader attacks on jammed doors now be done from the hinge side if possible. The strength of the A-pillar and the hinges actually help you get the door forced open in most cases and the hinge side keeps you farthest away from the bad stuff.
Avoid crushing into or forcing against a B-pillar or C-pillar if you feel that you are near the seat level and a possible crash sensor area.
All this goes along with the understanding that you have stabilized the scene and the vehicle and shut down the electrical system.
01-16-1999, 10:46 PM #6nbfd131Firehouse.com Guest
This technique work well for pushing the door out and away from the patient. Many times just spreading the door from either sde will force the door inwards initially. Due to the placement of the spreaders in the vertical crush tech, the door can't roll into the passenger compartment anymore then it started which is the idea in the first place. I'd still put a short board in between the door and the passenger to protect them and the ems personel inside. Excellent topic.
01-17-1999, 10:53 AM #7cra539Firehouse.com Guest
I'd like to add a tip regarding taking the door hinges first thats worked well for me. I have used a holmatro 32" spreader VERTICALLY at the front of the door. Open enough space above the top hinge to expose the hinge, then put the tips at the top of the hinge with the tool vertical, then spread, the door will roll out. As the top hinge breaks, keep spreading, hopefully until the bottom hinge gives, or you run out of spread. After the bottom hinge is free, go to the nader pin. It worked for me many times.
01-19-1999, 12:34 AM #8rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Posting from Moderator Ron Moore:
nbfd131 mentioned in his comments on the vertical crush technique that he would put a short board in between the door and the passenger to protect them and EMS personnel inside.
Not only did I write in my Mosby vehicle rescue & extrication book that you should do this, until recently, I was also teaching this in my University of Extrication hands-on seminars conducted across the country.
I'm changing my mind though about this for one reason.....loaded side impact airbags.
The wood shortboard or even a KED or XP-1 device do a great job of protecting the patient under non-airbag situations. With these units between the patient and the work, we minimize any chance of our tools injuring our patient.
Now however, with SIPS bags, if a loaded bag were to deploy during extrication work, I'm concerned that our hard protection may actually make things worse. The bag will slam the hard wood board right into the patient or launch it upward at the rescuer. Rescue instructor Steve Kidd, author of the Mosby Carbuster 3 series, is firm about this problem. He says no more hard protection!
Just some food for thought.
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